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I have a heartfelt suggestion to Stack overflow. I recently paticipated in this thread before it was bizarrely closed:

When to use the lock thread in C#? [closed]

I correctly identified to the user that he had an improper lock situation and specified an actual fix for the user. The user responded by stating that it "Saved his life" and marked me as the answer.

Then (or most likely before mine got marked as the answer) a person who is well known in the industry and stack overflow with (100K status) came along and gave a good, but philisophical answer; but not one with a concrete action of what to do...

As mentioned my response was marked as the answer by the OP, and then the question was closed as "closed as not a real question" which really blows my mind, but that is not why I am posting this...

With the 100K persons answer, people saw his name and kept marking up his response even after the question was closed. It went from 10 to 20 and no one is marking up the actual answer.

I believe that this situation should be awarded with badges

  1. Cult-Of-Personality badge for anyone over 50K (or 100K) who has a post which is not marked as the answer but 15+ people upvote it as the answer.
  2. Paparazzi If the above #1 situation is identified anyone who upvoted the #1 gets this self explantory badge.
  3. BridesMaid If #1 occurs the poster who gets the actual answer for the question gets this for the statement "Always the bride's maid and never the bride".



share|improve this question
-1, I don't think this really encourages any positive behaviors. Amusing badge names, though =) – jadarnel27 Jan 5 '12 at 14:31
A question that explicitly says "Someone could give me some practical guidelines" is not a good fit for a question and answer site. – AakashM Jan 5 '12 at 14:31
The OP needed help with an app that was freezing. Pure and simple and an answer was identified. I get that the better one asks a questions, the more likely it will get a proper answer; but the community should support anyone looking for help regardless of their writing skills. – OmegaMan Jan 5 '12 at 14:36
Why do you assume people are upvoting based on name recognition? It's a good answer. I think you're confusing the cause with the effect. People get high reputation on Stack Overflow by providing good answers. They don't get upvotes just because they already have high reputation. – Bill the Lizard Jan 5 '12 at 14:36
@BilltheLizard I said his was a good answer I am not disregarding that fact, but the OP who had the problem didn't mark it as the answer because it gave no practical advice to solving the problem. Even after the question was marked as being answered and the question was closed...people upvoted the other answer. I bet if you look at other closed questions, people are not upvoting other answers at such a ratio. IMHO If it had been a nom-de-plume user I don't believe it would have rocketed to 20 on a closed marked as answer question. People follow personalities, not closed questions. – OmegaMan Jan 5 '12 at 14:45
I don't see how upvoting an answer from one of the architects of the frigging language qualifies as "cult of personality". I can understand the frustration when with two identical answers, the one by the high-rep guy gets upvoted more. But in this case, I don't see the issue. You're always going to lose against answerers who actually have a stake in the product and can provide deeper insight, it's happened to me too, it's just the way it is. The way I see it, the fact that SO manages to actually attract those people and make them answer here is a very good thing – Pëkka Jan 5 '12 at 14:47
@OmegaMan People do look at closed questions. That one currently has 3 reopen votes. Also, people don't so much follow "personalities" as they follow people who habitually leave good, insightful answers. Bad answers by high-rep users won't get upvoted. Great answers by anonymous users will. – Bill the Lizard Jan 5 '12 at 14:55
@BilltheLizard, fair enough and your points are well received. – OmegaMan Jan 5 '12 at 14:59
BTW - don't worry about the downvotes to your question here on meta. They don't mean the same thing here, and they especially don't need to mean that people think you should not have asked the question in the first place. – Joel Coehoorn Jan 5 '12 at 15:07
up vote 12 down vote accepted

I need to deal with the specific suggestion first. One of the things that the Stack Overflow/Stack Exchange team is very firm on is that the one and only purpose of badges is to encourage positive behaviors. If your intent in proposing badges like "Paparazzi" is that this will be a wake-up to those who are making cult-of-personality votes that maybe this isn't a good thing, then the badge would be in effect a permanent black mark on your account, and that is entirely counter to what they want the badge system to be about.

As for the votes, there's a lot of individual psychology that goes into what motivates certain people to vote certain ways. While a "personality cult" may be a part of this (perhaps even a big part), I can see a few others things here that helped push the votes in a certain direction:

  1. Your answer was a very terse "what". Very little "why" or "how". Presumably, you cover the "why" and "how" in greater detail in the linked blog post, but that kind of link won't pull in votes. Voters tend not to trust hyperlinks to random blogs they've never seen before.
  2. You failed to make use of the markdown list formatting (I'll fix your answer to use it as soon I've posted this, so you can see how it's done). There's nothing wrong with that, per se, but it's indicator of a new(-er) user to the site, and that magnifies the implicit distrust created when you link to your personal blog.

    It's worth adding here that linking to blogs isn't something we want to entirely discourage, but it's value depends on the reputation of the blog author and the answerer (and by reputation I mean real reputation, not just the number next to your name on the site here). That is used to help voters form a quick judgement on the quality of the content. Build up your real reputation (in part by providing more quality answers) and you'll find people are more willing to trust this kind of thing.

  3. Eric Lippert isn't just some guy on an internet forum. He actually works on the C# language team at Microsoft and helps design and build the product in question. As such, he has a depth of understanding of what is going on that is difficult for others to match. His answers, while not exactly authoritative (especially in the context of places like Stack Overflow), are about as close to it as you'll find on a random internet site somewhere. It's therefore beneficial to the community as a whole when those answers are well-voted.
share|improve this answer
In addition to the formatting, the spelling error, missed capitalization, and "HTH" (at the end) also detract from the quality of the post (although I still gave a +1). – jadarnel27 Jan 5 '12 at 14:47
Your constructive criticism is well taken and I mark this as the answer. As to the spelling error, when I work in IE the errors are not listed and I miss them. As to formatting, yes I am still getting the nuances of this site. As to HTH, well some answers can sound condescending and for me when I use HTH it shows that I want to help. – OmegaMan Jan 5 '12 at 14:57
@OmegaMan - anyone answering a question wants to help. The upshot is that on Stack Overflow, extra text like "HTH", "thanks", etc is just noise and detracts rather than adds to your posts. – Joel Coehoorn Jan 5 '12 at 15:03
Excuse my ignorance, but what does HTH mean? HAIL TO HAM? – Marcelo Jan 5 '12 at 15:05
@Marcelo "Hope This Helps" (although I will forever read it as HAIL TO HAM from now on) – jadarnel27 Jan 5 '12 at 15:07
advTHANKSance ;-) – OmegaMan Jan 5 '12 at 20:16
@OmegaMan I see what you did there =) – jadarnel27 Jan 5 '12 at 20:23

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